Sky Movies Sci-fi/Horror: Friday 13 November, 9.00pm
Teenagers confront an evil force in an old summer camp at Crystal Lake. Betsy Palmer is among the shriekers and Kevin Bacon among the victims in the first of a series of successful but wholly unoriginal cheapskate stalk’n’slashers. This imitative horror spawned a multitude of sequels, prequels and remakes (some of which follow because, you know, today’s the day).
Director Sean Cunningham calls his home The House that Jason Built, although he only made the first film and professes no fondness for the franchise. The rather graphic effects – throat-cutting, impalement, et cetera – are by Tom Savini, a Vietnam vet who first plied his trade on George Romero’s iconic zombie movies. Composer Harry Manfredini wasn’t shy about imitation, either, blatantly ripping off themes from Bernard Herrmann’s Psycho and Pino Donaggio’s Carrie scores (the notorious ‘Carrie ending’ is completely bungled).
The acting is fairly horrific too. 1981’s Friday the 13th Part II follows at 10.40pm, and the ‘Oh my God! You’re all doomed!’ dialogue gets precisely the acting it deserves from a less than charismatic cast. We must sit through the last 10 minutes of Part II again before the mayhem begins afresh (the term is used loosely) in 1982’s Part III (at 12.15am).
Steve Miner is the only director to helm two entries in the series, and this one capitalises on the early-80s 3D craze. Ugly! 2003’s gimmicky Freddy vs Jason rolls up at 2am. It’s the only Friday film without a score by Harry Manfredini. So at least it sounds fresh.